Saturday, 29 September 2012


(Written for “THE WORKER”  Brisbane, May 16, 1891)

Australia's a big country
An' Freedom's humping bluey,
An' Freedom's on the wallaby
Oh don't you hear'er cooey.
She's just begun to boomerang,
She'll knock the tyrants silly,
She's goin' to light another fire
And boil another billy.

Our fathers toiled for bitter bread
While loafers thrived beside'em,
But food to eat and clothes to wear,
Their native land denied'em
An' so they left that native land
In spite of their devotions,
An' so they come, or if they stole,
Were sent across the ocean.

Then freedom couldn't stand the glare
Of Royalty's regalia,
She left the loafers where they were
An' come out to Australia,
But now across the mighty main
The chains have come ter bind her,
She little thought to see again
The wrongs she left behind her.

Our parent's toiled to make a home,
Hard grubbin' 'twas an' clearin',
They wasn't crowded much with Lords
When they was pioneerin'
But now that we have made the land
A garden full of promise,
Old Greed must' crook 'is dirty hand
An come ter take from us.

So we must fly a rebel flag
As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus.
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting,
O' those that they would throttle;
They needn't say the fault is ours
If blood should stain the wattle.
                                                       Henry Lawson.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Disturbing Comments By Seeney On CMC

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney needs to quickly clarify his disturbing remarks about the independent Crime and Misconduct Commission.
Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Seeney needed to spell out exactly what he meant when he claimed today that “…the CMC continues to allow itself to be drawn into the political process...”.
Mr Seeney was further quoted as saying: "I think we in the government need to look at the legislation to see what we can do about it."
“By talking about new laws covering the CMC, Mr Seeney seems to be suggesting the LNP government wants to curtail the scope and powers of the independent corruption watchdog,” she said.
“Does he want to prevent the CMC from examining matters linked to politicians or a political office?
“If so, then his plans are diametrically opposed to the original intent of the Fitzgerald reforms that gave rise to the CMC and its predecessors.
“The CMC is reviewed by the bi-partisan Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee once in every term of State Parliament.
“If Mr Seeney is suggesting some other review, he needs to tell Queenslanders why it is needed.
“Mr Seeney needs to clarify his remarks, and clarify them as quickly as possible,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Contracts Point To Second Wave Of LNP Sackings

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says proposed contracts for Newman Government chief executives show the Premier’s priority remains sacking people and government workers should brace for a second wave of LNP job cuts.
“This is a government that does everything it can to make it easier to sack its own employees,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It provides scripts to managers to make it easier to get people out the door, and now it holds out the carrot of higher salaries for CEOs who cut jobs.
“If the leaked contracts for Directors-General are applied, chief executives will akin to bounty hunters — taking away pay packets to fatten their own.
“This leaked contract shows the Newman Government’s mass sackings are far from over and will not stop at the current 14,000.
“Why else are D-Gs being given financial incentives to sack people?”
Ms Palaszczuk said nobody could trust the Premier’s word on job security.
“Before the election he said government workers had nothing to fear from him or the LNP, then he won office and started his mass sackings,” she said.
“He previously said he wants to boost public sector jobs, but now appears to be encouraging his D-Gs to sack as many people as they can.
“The Premier claims the sackings are over, but the leaked contracts show there are many more jobs at risk.”

Seeney backs down over Reconstruction Authority

Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has joined the growing list of Newman Government Ministers who have been forced to back down over a flawed Budget announcement.
Mr Pitt said Mr Seeney had been forced to extend the life of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) beyond the February next year closure date outlined in the LNP State Budget.
“The LNP Budget papers indicate the QRA will be prematurely dismantled in February 2013 rather than being extended to June 2014 when the recovery task is due to be completed,” Mr Pitt said.
“Late this afternoon, we have seen Mr Seeney finally see common sense after pressure from stakeholders and admit that the QRA will need to operate until June 2014.
“The closer we look at the LNP Budget the more holes and cracks that appear.
“In the past couple of weeks we’ve seen other LNP Minister’s having to back down over decisions outlined in the Budget.
“Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey has had to stall his plans to slash the Rural Fire Service in half and Transport Minister Scott Emerson has also deferred a decision on his plans to scrap taxi subsidies for people with a disability.
“Today the Deputy Premier joins the ranks of these Ministers who are showing the LNP Budget for what it really is, a flawed document,” he said.
Mr Pitt said this is a win for common sense and people in disaster affected areas who are still struggling to recover.
“The previous Labor Government was always aware of the sunset clause in the QRA legislation and if re-elected would have moved to change the legislation to amend this clause,” Mr Pitt said.
“The previous Labor Government were on the record saying the QRA would continue as long as the recovery task took and the advice from the QRA was that it would take until June 2014.
“The LNP Government tried to hide their plans to prematurely dismantle the QRA in their Budget papers instead of being upfront with Queenslanders about their intentions.
“We will also be seeking clarification on the LNP’s plan to cut QRA staff by 18 per cent, or 22 full time jobs.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

We're then going to knock down the Executive Building, anyone upset about that? Okay, good.

Campbell Newman was on the TV news last night and giving the reasons why the LNP Government is building a new Executive building and they showed worn carpets, dirty walls, rattling windows etc. it is basic building maintenance which can be repaired and that's his excuse, and it is a very weak one at that.

Just like in the Movie "Back two the Future II"  When Biff becomes rich by using the "Sports Almanac" and builds himself a palace. 

Newspaper quote:
"Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the Government's executive biulding and public works building will be demolished.
It had not been revealed whether the high-rise office towers in Brisbane's CBD would be sold or rebuilt as part of the government's plan to revitalise the city.
The government has asked the private sector to build and finance a new government agency hub on William Street, opposite Parliament House.

Once it is completed, the government will lease space there and workers will be moved over.
"We're then going to knock down the Executive Building, the Public Works Building," he told a conference held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

"Anyone upset about that? Okay, good."

The government will then have a tender process for a new five-star hotel, he said.
"It could be a casino."

More Health cuts target critical services

Media Release.

The LNP Government has again taken its axe to frontline health services attempting to shift the blame to the Federal Government, Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller said.
Mrs Miller said Health Minister Lawrence Springborg had today slashed funding to non-government agencies, attacking support for primary and preventative health across the state.
“After sacking more than 4,000 people in his department and attacking frontline services, the Health Minister today comes out and digs the knife in even deeper by cutting the funding to critical health care,” Mrs Miller said.
“To add insult to injury, the Health Minister then attempts to hide behind what are clearly his cuts by claiming they are not in fact cuts but a transfer of responsibility to the Federal Government.
“First he tries to hide behind regional health boards, now he tries to blame others for his savage funding cuts.
“This government can attempt to dress it up anyway they want but Queenslanders see right through that – these are cuts, make no mistake and it is time for this government to take responsibility for its actions.
“And they announce this on the same day they release a short-list of developers to build the Premier’s new office tower in William Street.”
Mrs Miller said today’s cuts were in important areas such as preventative health, areas where the Health Minister has already sacked more than 150 people.
“Preventative health programs are designed to stop people getting sick before they need the services of our hospitals and medical community.
“By cutting them, you increase the burden on our public health system.
“But it’s typical of this mean, cold-hearted and short sighted government that they would slash and axe and burn vital services without consultation and certainly without anything even resembling a vision for the future.”

Frontline Jobs Go At Tallebudgera

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the LNP government’s sacking of catering staff at the Tallebudgera Outdoor Education School destroys the Premier’s claim that he is preserving frontline jobs and frontline services.
Ms Palaszczuk said in addition to the jobs lost at Tallebudgera the LNP’s first State Budget took away more than it gave to the Gold Coast including $154 million slashed from the region’s infrastructure budget.
“I am not sure how the Premier argues that the dedicated staff who plan, prepare and serve more than 200,000 meals a year to the young Queenslanders at the Tallebudgera centre are not in frontline jobs or are not delivering frontline services,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Any reasonable person would agree the 27 staff whose jobs are going at Tallebudgera are on the frontline. They deliver an essential service directly to students using the centre so in my view that means they are on the frontline.
“Like 14,000 other Queenslanders, the Tallebudgera catering staff have had their jobs cut at the stroke of the Premier’s pen despite the promises he made before the election.
“I’m sure the LNP never letterboxed election brochures saying their jobs would be going if the LNP won office. In fact they had Mr Newman’s word that they had nothing to fear from him or an LNP government.”
Ms Palaszczuk said she was appalled by reports that the government had decided to cut the jobs of its own employees before telling staff of its plans.
In August the LNP government called tenders for catering services at Active Recreation Centres operated by the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing including Tallebudgera where Education Department staff operate the catering service.
“The people being sacked are Gold Coast residents who have mortgages or rent payments to make, children to put through school and may have plans for family holidays,” she said.
“Yet the Newman Government didn’t think it necessary to tell them of its plans to sack them ahead of calling tenders for a new catering supplier. Unfortunately it is typical of the LNP government to treat its own employees in such an arrogant manner.”
Ms Palaszczuk said while the former Labor Government poured billions into the Gold Coast in the form of the new Gold Coast University Hospital and the rapid transit project, the Newman Government was determined to rip money out of the area.
“At the same time the LNP government is sacking people, axing services and failing to provide funding for infrastructure it tries to claim credit for projects already under construction thanks to the former Labor Government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The $1.3 billion Gold Coast Rapid Transit project was initiated and funded by state and federal Labor Governments and the $1.76 billion, 750-bed Gold Coast University Hospital opening in December was initiated and built by the former Labor Government.
“By comparison the LNP’s first State Budget takes the Gold Coast backwards. It provides $1.344 billion for the region, compared to last year’s $1.498 billion – ripping $154 million away from Gold Coast residents.
“At the same time this Premier managed to find $3.5 million in the Budget to start planning his one new infrastructure project for Queensland — a shiny new Executive Building for himself in the Brisbane CBD.
“The Premier can find money for his pet project but not for frontline jobs and services. It shows how twisted this government’s priorities are.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the LNP had already:
  •  cut 93 health staff from the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service including 18 from the Robina and Gold Coast hospital emergency departments and 16 from surgical departments
  •  axed the coast’s share of the $1.2 million State Emergency Service Cadet Program
  •  slashed $2.15 million in employment programs in the Gold Coast region that were supporting 1,008 job seekers
  •  failed to deliver its promised $1.2 million police beat at Burleigh, and
  •  failed to deliver 100 extra police to the Gold Coast, instead spreading them across the Gold Coast, Coomera and Logan police districts.
Ms Palaszczuk said sacking 14,000 Queenslanders was a false economy.
“When you take away pay packets, you also bring pain to the whole community – especially the small business community,” she said.
“People stop going to the local coffee shop, they no longer go to the local hairdresser and dry-cleaner, they are forced to cut back spending on things like a night at the movies or dinner at the local club.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Once again Tony Abbott says, he supports QLD Premier.

Tony Abbott has given support to the Queensland LNP Government at a Taiwanese Festival at Mt Gravatt showgrounds in Brisbane and I quote:

"If you have got to clean up many, many years of Labor waste and extravagance an inefficiency, unfortunately tough decisions just have to be made, he said."

It appears to me Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman are reading from the same balance sheet, using the same weird financial ideology, a number on a balance sheet to reduce the level of Social Justice in Queensland, my view is that the wealth of the State should look after all.

But Tony Abbott and Campbell Newman think otherwise, Queensland is not a basket case compared to other Countries around the world, it can afford to do the right thing for it's people.

Tony Abbott likes what he sees happening in Queensland, is this what Australia will suffer if he ever becomes Prime Minister?



Saturday, 22 September 2012


Brisbane, April 18, 1891

Chief Justice Lilley Lays the Foundation Stone.

For six long years a committee composed of delegates from the various Brisbane labour unions has been continuously working, latterly as a board of Management, to get a hall for Labour. After astounding opposition from various cabinets, a grant of land was secured and from various sources sufficient funds have been secured to start operations. The Eight Hour Union Committee has been particularly active in the work having raised no less than 1500 by art unions and sports, while a goodly number of societies took up shares as a form of investment for funds, particularly before the drain of the big maritime strike. By hard and devoted work, all preliminary difficulties were overcome and on Saturday, April 4th, the foundation stone of the future Temple of Labour was laid. This does not mean that the committee can now rest on their oars, however, for the help of every unionist in Brisbane is still needed to carry the work to a successful conclusion.

The foundation ceremonies were commenced by a procession which was taken part in by nearly 2,000 members of various local unions, marching under their banners to the strains of band music and headed by the members of the Trades Hall Board of Management, the Eight Hour Union Committee and the District Council, A.L.F. Delegates of the Women's also took part. At the Turbot street site, which was gay with bunting, over 6,000 people were gathered when Chief Justice Lilley stepped on to the platform, the crowd covering roadway, scaffolding, platform and that part of the Wickham Terrace reserve immediately opposite; he was enthusiastically received.

Preliminary Speeches

Mr. W.P. Colborne, after narrating briefly the history of the hall, and stating that 1,500 pounds more was wanted to complete the first section, said that he hoped that with this foundation stone they would lay the foundation stone they would lay the foundation of better things in Queensland.

Secretary T. F. Smith laid particular stress on the necessity for technical education and looked forward hopefully to seeing a real technical school in connection with the hall, not the shoddy system now boasted so much of, but one which would turn young men out thorough tradesmen, no matter what their calling was. That would be doing a vast good to the country and developing the character of the coming generation, so that some day Queensland would be second to no country in the world for mechanics.

The Chairman, Mr. Chas. Lancaster, in asking the Chief Justice to perform the ceremony said that his committee had not remembered only that Sir Charles Lilley sympathised with the aspirations of the working classes. If it were not for the free schools there would be no hope for the workers and it was the men who had given the free schools to Queensland that they had asked to lay the foundation stone of their new Trades Hall.
Rising amid rounds of applause, again and again repeated.

Chief Justice Lilley said:

Working men and working women of Queensland, I congratulate you most heartily on the work of today, because it symbolises to me the work, patiently began and patiently carried through, of past years work which I think is of the very greatest importance to those men who most need self-help and the help of others. (Hear,hear.)
And this is an indication of the self-help that the workers of Queensland are prepared to do for themselves. (Hear,hear.) Now, I am glad for another reason to see the beginning of this work today—I mean the beginning of the material part of the work—because the spirit which began it has lived amongst working men for some years past. (Hear,hear.) This is an educational institution; and I dare say some of you, like persons among other classes in the community, have wondered at the persistency of my actions in the direction of education. I will tell you why I have been persistent, why I have been animated by the warm desire and strong resolution that the people of Queensland should be educated, and above all, that the working men of Queensland should be educated. (Hear,hear.) The rich, it has been said, can provide education for themselves—why need you trouble to found schools and colleges and a university? Why? Because I wish to have them for the poor as well as for the rich—for these who are not so wealthy—for the workers in the community. I have held, and hold very strongly, and shall continue to hold until the mischief I regard it to be—that the endowed schools of the colony, unless free and shared by working men of Queensland, are educational institutions endowed for the wealthy, and not for those who help to support them. (Cheers.)

Now , I am also glad to see this hall being erected for another reason, and probably not less strong. That is, that it is to be, I hope, the Parliament of the working men of Queensland--(hear,hear)--where you are to discuss those questions that affect most vitally your interests of those that are dear to you—your wives and children. That is why I am glad to see it—a place where you can discuss reasonably and quietly amongst yourselves matters affecting your immediate interests, intellectual, and I would like to add, almost spiritual; for I regard the spirit of man not merely as a religious machine, but as one having high and elevated aspirations applicable to life and duty on earth. (Hear,hear.) Now I regard this institution as a most valuable contribution to the material wealth of the colony, for this reason; For the first time in history labour is entering as an organised movement—as an organised power into the life of nations. (Hear,hear.) Now it has been confronted and is confronted today by the power which is and has been in the past almost omnipotent—the organisation of of intelligence purchased by wealth--(Hear,hear.) --and the duty of labour probably is in the future to oppose that wealth—the wealth of individualism—with the wealth of a capital drawn from collective efforts and contributions of the working classes. (hear,hear.)

You have not only to confront that with that wealth, but you have to meet it with the organised educated band of labour. (Hear,hear.) That is why I have been so anxious, in the past that you should be educated up to a fitting state of knowledge, so that you might meet that with success. (Hear,hear.) Now I am not an enemy of capital. The man who says he is an enemy of capital has not thought upon upon the matter. You must have capital if you are to work, and to work with effect for the advantage of yourselves and of the community generally. Capital is essential to carry out work; but of course I am not going into the great question of labour and capital today, I am merely pointing out to you that this movement in the present is an important movement, because you will have to meet organised intelligence with an organised intelligence of your own. (Hear,hear.) My experience of the schools convinces me that the heads of working men's sons are the best in the community. (Hear,hear.) They come from the healthy labour-trained physique the physically strong and the healthier portion of the community, and they have held their own through all the schools of the colony, and second to none in other countries where they have had the fortune to go.

I say you are a power; I wish you to be an educated power. I have never believed in an uneducated democracy. My belief is that we should have an educated democracy, because, at the same time, I believe it will be a self respecting, a reasonable and a just democracy. (Hear,hear.) I am here today because I have always regarded with the deepest sympathy—I had almost said affection—the working men of my country. I know that every man who has any grit whatever, either of nature or education or talent or genius, should devote himself to the elevation, to the redemption of men who through past ages have certainly had the worst end of life. (Hear,hear.) I am a great believer in the fact that working men can be elevated. We know they can. We know they will be elevated; but it must be by this great lever—first by education, and second by wealth, which they must draw from their own temperance, prudence and thrift. (Hear,hear.) I do not think that a working man will ever be elevated if he takes his earnings—whether from the office where he works or from his labour, whether it be under a system of socialism or under an individual employer—to to the nearest public house. (Hear,hear.)

Believe me, you have a great power in your own hands, in your own lives. (Hear,hear.) I am not going to preach to you, but I am at liberty at least to refer to a very old book, which I am afraid is not sufficiently regarded in these days, I mean the Christian Scriptures. I wish to say a word or two on the life of one there that is an example to all of us here—the first great democrat that ever lived. The Carpenter of Nazareth, in his short life, left us the great precept upon which all social systems in my opinion must be built. I mean the great principle—you must not work merely for yourselves, every man trying to gather in something for his own selfish indulgence—but you must work more for one another. You must do unto others what you would have them do to you. Be self-helping but also be mutually helping. That is the rule of the future, and I believe that is the rule which men will enter upon-the rule of life which will bring all classes of men nearer together. If they do not enter upon it the old selfish spirit of men will reassert dominion over them, and the plans for advancement, however wisely formed, will crumble away to dust. I say that because I believe the Church has failed in its duty in not holding up sufficiently the glorious life of that great and beloved Man. (Hear,hear.)

Now I will glance for a second or two at the present unhappy state of the colony. I am sure my friends the working men will forgive me if I speak plainly. (Hear,hear.) I am not a great believer in strikes, and I believe the great body of working men are not great believers in strikes. They are things to be avoided; but if there is no other remedy—and if they are likely to be successful—why, they may be resorted to unquestionably. (Hear,hear; and laughter.) But they do not always achieve the end in view, and there can be no doubt of this that labour and capital are like man and wife—they are better when they live together in peace than when they are quarrelling by the fireside--(Hear,hear); and if I could by any means in my power reconcile labour and capital, why, I would undertake a very long journey to do it. (Hear,hear.) I am satisfied that these differences bring loss, but I would counsel in respect to every movement amongst working men patience as far as it can possibly be practised—patience and peace. During the last five or six years since the question stirred very vigorously—I have given very great attention to, and have read very considerably on this social question. I am not a believer in the everlasting continuance of the present system. (Hear,hear.)

I am satisfied that we are approaching, possibly slowly, some great change in the social condition of classes. (Cheers.) I think we are not far from the day when he who does not work shall not eat--(hear,hear)--and it is no use of any people who have been eating without working making a great face about it because they will have to reconcile themselves to the condition of labour. I do not wish them any harm; on the contrary, I wish all men good. I am convinced of this, that they will have to work. That will be the primary condition of life. But I think that work should be reasonable--(hear,hear)--that a man should have leisure; that he should have time for intellectual enjoyment, for refreshment of spirit with his friends, time for music, time to visit paintings in the picture galleries. He should have time to enjoy himself after the toil of the day has been completed, in short I am a believer in shorter hours of labour. (Cheers.) Although I never worked with my hands—A Voice: I hope you never do—well, I am getting a little old now, and under the present social system I would be entitled to my pension--(hear,hear)--I have a very vivid recollection of the time when I began the study of law under a grinding attorney. (Laughter.) He kept me at work from twelve to fourteen hours a day. 

I have worked all one day and all night and I tried to work the next day. But nature was too powerful for me and the attorney. (Laughter.) I had to succumb but then I got the advantage of it in years after. I got a good deal of rather feeble health, which was perhaps a doubtful advantage; but I also got a most thorough training in the profession in which I have had the honour to practice in this country for over thirty years. (Cheers.)
The attorney meant well and I still think of him with kindness; because while he worked me hard in my profession he was very careful of the culture of my mind in other respects. That is, I had the pleasure of working in the hours that he left me. (Laughter.) You see why I believe in reasonable hours, shorter hours, hours that will leave you leisure for improvement. I shall say no more, but again offer you my congratulations and hope that you may proceed with patience and with calmness in your course, knowing that the brightest and most active intellects of the country which we have left, and also of the country which we now inhabit, are engaged in serious and earnest consideration of the great problems that affect labour and our social life. (Loud cheers.)

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone having been performed, accompanied by the “Auld Lang Syne” of the band, the chairman presented Sir Charles Lilley with the silver trowel used as a mark of the esteem in which he was held by working men of Queensland, a sentiment greeted by the meeting with another ovation. But the greatest enthusiasm followed the singing of the “Sons of Australia” to the tune and wording of the “Marseillaise” by Miss Annis Montague, accompanied by the Montague-Turner opera chorus. Miss Montague who was in magnificent voice, had freely given her song, at the request of the committee, and roused the assembled thousands to a fever heat which could only be allayed by an encore. Then followed cheers for Miss Montague, cheers for the bushman, groans for the Government, cheers for the Chief Justice, cheers for a dozen things and people at once, amid which excitement the meeting dispersed.

Friday, 21 September 2012

What’s The Next Hole in the LNP’s Budget?

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the LNP’s first State Budget is in tatters just more than a week after it was delivered.
“The latest blow to the credibility of the LNP’s first State Budget is the review of the $400 ceiling on payments under the taxi subsidy scheme,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“These savage and callous cuts to what is unquestionably a frontline service have caused fear, distress and uncertainty across the state especially among Queenslanders with a disability.
“To end that fear and uncertainty the Transport Minister, Scott Emerson, needs to scrap the ceiling today. He doesn’t need a review to do that.”
Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Emerson’s announcement was the second example in one day of the Newman Government back-tracking on supposedly essential State Budget decisions.
“Community Safety Minister Dempsey also back-tracked on closures of Rural Fire Service offices and is now just waffling on RFS job cuts,” she said.
“The $400 ceiling on the taxi subsidy and the RFS cuts were both presented as being integral to the LNP’s financial strategy and its 2012 State Budget.
“Now we find both decisions are more than dispensable when the Premier and his Treasurer are facing a backbench revolt over their mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services.”

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Open Government Starts With The Premier

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier should prove his commitment to open government by releasing all information about plans for a new casino in Brisbane and the related sale of public assets.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Premier’s own actions in sacking library staff in a range of government agencies would itself hamper any plans for public access to government information.
“Like every other commitment he makes, the Premier’s embrace of open government rings hollow,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“This is the same Premier who has never been open with the 14,000 government workers he has sacked or the frontline community groups whose funding he has axed.
“It is the same Premier whose Ministers refuse to release the most basic information in response to Right to Information applications.
“It is the same Premier who has sacked library staff in key departments including Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; Public Works and Housing; and Education Queensland.
“Exactly how does the Premier think his plan to access information will work without such experienced staff?”
Ms Palaszczuk said Queenslanders should be concerned about a Premier who continued to give top priority to a new Executive Building for himself and his Ministers, and an extra casino.
“I know these are not the priorities of communities in regional Queensland. People I talk to there can’t understand why the Premier and his Treasurer could find $3.5 million in his State Budget to start planning the new Executive Building while sacking 14,000 people and cutting frontline services.”
Ms Palaszczuk said openness and transparency were vital when dealing with casino licensing.
“We already know the Treasurer Tim Nicholls has accepted hospitality from one casino promoter, which is why the Premier’s first commitment to open government should be to tell Queenslanders all he knows about plans for a casino smack in the middle of the George Street heritage precinct,” she said.
“Exactly what are is his plans and why is he giving it a priority?
“He is also talking about demolishing buildings and building casinos, but what is the future of historic public assets such as The Mansion, Harris Terrace, the Old Government Printery, and the building now used as the Public Service Club?” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Breakaway Backbencher Puts Premier To The Test

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says concerns expressed by an LNP backbencher about the Newman Government’s Budget strategy require the Premier to say what value he puts on his own MPs and those who voted for them.
“First it was Vaughan Johnson and now Ted Malone. It is clear there is unrest within LNP ranks about the impact its Budget is having, especially in regional Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
On ABC Radio this morning the Member for Mirani, Ted Malone, questioned the whole basis of the Newman Government’s strategy by referring to the “rush” to implement mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services.
Mr Malone said: “I just think there’s been quite a rush to implement some program and some directions that I don’t believe are in line with what the government is trying to achieve and I think that through myself and others, we need to be taking back to the Minister and Department some of the issues on the ground and try get some clear understanding on where the cuts should be made.”
Ms Palaszczuk said it was now up to the Premier to declare if he would listen to MPs like Mr Malone.
“This is shaping up as a true test of the Premier and is a clear indication of tensions over his leadership,” she said.
“Will the Premier listen to his own MPs who are raising concerns about the impact his sackings and funding cuts are having on their local communities, local families, and local business operators?” she said.
“Or will he continue to arrogantly ignore them?
“It is notable that it has been the more experienced regional MPs like Mr Malone and the Member for Gregory, Mr Johnson, who are speaking up against the LNP’s sackings and frontline cuts.
“The new MPs from the ‘Class of 2012’ appear to be a lost cause and have greatly disappointed those who voted for them.
“They sit in silence and say nothing and do nothing to protect their local communities.
“But longer-serving MPs know the impacts the government’s sackings and frontline cuts are having on local people and local economies.
“It is now for the Premier to say if he is prepared to listen to his MPs or if he will continue to ignore those who voted for him and continue to break election promises,” Ms Palaszczuk said.


ANY cuts to Electrical Safety Office (ESO) will increase electrocution risks … ETU 


Union fears more on the way as Government takes axe to safety

Media Release.

Any loss of life due to savage cuts to workplace and electrical safety regimes will be on the Premiers head the Electrical Trades Union said today.
In a scathing attack on the Newman Governments lack of experience and a total disregard for workplace and public safety the ETU has urged the premier to come clean and tell Queenslanders why the Government is attacking safety.
ETU Deputy Secretary Keith McKenzie expressed outrage that the Government had a Bill before parliament that will take the axe to Electrical Safety Act first implemented in 2002.
“The Act came in place following recommendations from a taskforce report into the number of deaths caused by electricity, this Bill before parliament will take the axe to the significant provisions of the Act”
The Bill will abolish the role of “Commissioner of Electrical Safety as well as the Electrical Safety Education Committee and the Electrical Equipment Committee. The latest attack on safety comes hot on the heels of the August leaked document outlining cuts to the justice administration. Hidden in the wording of that document was a seemingly innocuous statement that outlined major cuts to safety regimes.
“Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and The Electrical Safety Office inspectorate numbers will be reviewed to bring them into line with Victorian and New South Wales”
However according to the ETU a closer look at the numbers shows this “review” has already factored in a massive reduction in inspectorate numbers and savings of $3 m over 2 years.
“This is yet another example of this government taking the axe to a crucial frontline service that played a vital role in rebuilding Queensland after the recent natural disasters a service that does the essential tasks of checking safety switches and wiring, any reduction in these functions will put Queenslanders at risk. If the premier fails to rethink these massive cuts to this front line service, his government will be exposed to a “pink batts” type crisis and the inevitable increase in health and safety related - work stoppages, injuries and deaths”
“Any reduction in already stretched ESO and Workplace Health & Safety inspector numbers will increase the risks of electrocution, particularly in light of the massive rollout of solar panels with 110,000 Queenslanders lodging applications with either Energex or Ergon in the two weeks before the July 9 cut-off,” he said.
For further comment
Keith McKenzie (ETU Deputy Secretary) 0419 721 056
Scott Reichman (ETU State organiser) 0437 184 399
Andrew Irvine (Media officer) 0448 633 858

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Help for Queensland workers

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
THE HON kate ellis MP
Minister for Employment Participation


18 September 2012

The Gillard Government is rolling out immediate and targeted support in Queensland in the wake of the State Government’s decision to axe 14,000 public sector jobs.
Employment Minister Bill Shorten said the $850,000 package is aimed at helping axed workers find new jobs and minimise the flow-on impacts to non-government organisations that will no longer have access to State Government funding to deliver services to Queenslanders.
“The Gillard Government stands for job creation and since 2007, around 800,000 jobs have been created in Australia, an outstanding result given the disappearance of millions of jobs in the rest of the world,” Mr Shorten said.
“Making the hard choices about our economy isn’t about cuts to schools and hospitals and tearing away frontline services. That’s no way to build a stronger economy that delivers for all Australians.”
“Without our public sector workforce and the hard work they do, Australia would not be as modern, would not be as fair, would not be as safe, well governed and would not be as compassionate.”
“Unlike Conservative governments we do not blame council and state workers for all the problems in the world.”
“The Australian Government is taking action to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Queensland community to make sure they get back on their feet and that more Queenslanders are working.”
Mr Shorten said immediate Australian Government assistance available to workers made redundant as a result of the Queensland Government cuts includes: 
  •  Three of the Government’s highly successful Jobs and Skills Expos in the coming weeks in Brisbane, Townsville and Ipswich-Logan; and  
  •  over 30 information and assistance workshops on job seeking, assistance and support across mostly regional locations for workers and for non-government/Community Providers affected by Queensland Government public service cuts.
Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis said the Expos will bring together employers, employment services providers and training organisations with job seekers on one day – creating a one-stop-shop for jobs and training.
“The Australian Government has delivered 58 Jobs and Skills Expos and we know that they work because we’ve now seen more than 21,000 Australians find employment at them and many thousands more sign up for training opportunities,” Ministers Ellis said.
“We’re going to work to use this successful program to assist those 14,000 Queenslanders who’ve been axed by Campbell Newman and build on the great results these Expos have delivered.”
Mr Shorten said the jobs and information workshops will be developed and delivered by experienced private sector employment experts, together with the Australian Government’s Local Employment Coordinators, Regional Education, Skills and Jobs Co-ordinators and other officials from DEEWR and DHS and will also include information about how to access financial and mental health counselling if required.
“These programs will see Australian Government departments come together to provide access to real jobs and the financial and emotional support that is now required by so many in Queensland.”

Monday, 17 September 2012

Premier Out Of Touch With Those He’s Sacked

 A media release from the QLD Labor Opposition:
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says Premier Campbell Newman has shown how arrogant and out of touch he is by claiming no government worker has been sacked.
“The Premier’s bizarre statement shows he still hasn’t got a clue about the pain and anguish he is inflicting on Queensland families,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“If you have a job with this government and this government takes it off you, I think you have grounds to say you have been sacked.
“The fact is no government and no Premier has previously said they were cutting up to 20,000 jobs.
“It was never a matter of calling for expressions of interest, the Premier always put it in terms of having 20,000 too many employees and they had to go.
“Now in the face of community opposition about the 14,000 jobs finally identified for culling, the Premier resorts to word games in an effort to save his own job.
“I suggest he goes and asks the 14,000 whose jobs are disappearing whether they feel if they have been sacked or not,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Fitch Confirms Downgrade Belongs To The LNP
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the downgrade to Queensland’s credit rating is the responsibility of the LNP government – as warned by ratings agency Fitch in March.
“As Fitch Ratings noted in its last regular assessment, the latest ratings downgrade is all the LNP’s own work,” Mr Pitt said.
He said Fitch Ratings’ last regular assessment of the state issued on 26 March this year had stated:
“Queensland's new government has pledged to address the challenges of budgetary recovery and debt growth. Its ability to do this successfully will be an important component of our assessment of the state's rating, Fitch Ratings says.”
“In other words, Fitch warned that any of its ratings issues after March would be the responsibility of the LNP government,” Mr Pitt said.
“That means responsibility for the latest ratings downgrade rests squarely with the Newman Government and in particular Treasurer Tim Nicholls.
“It really is becoming rather sad to hear Mr Nicholls continually blaming the previous government for what Fitch has clearly said is his responsibility.”
He said the Treasurer needed to wake up and realise that he was no longer in Opposition.
“The fact is this week he delivered his first Budget and he needs to take responsibility for it.”
Mr Pitt said the Treasurer on ABC TV’s 730 Queensland on Tuesday night Mr Nicholls had agreed the 2012 State Budget drew “a line in the sand” and that the LNP would “take full responsibility for the decisions we’ve made in this Budget”.
“Quite simply, it is time Mr Nicholls lived up to his word,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Pitt said in March Fitch had also commented on the state’s fiscal position and said:
“The outgoing [Labor] administration has taken initial steps to rectify the situation, reviewing the [capital expenditure] programme and using asset sale proceeds to cut borrowing. The most recent budget aims to lower debt despite recent natural disasters, including severe flooding and cyclones, and sluggish economic growth.”
“In other words, the previous government had taken steps to restore the Budget position,” Mr Pitt said.
“This is totally contrary to what Mr Nicholls has been repeatedly claiming.”
LNP can’t distance itself from 14,000 sackings
The desperate LNP Government has attempted to distance itself from 14,000 devastating public sector sackings by offensively comparing their jobs purge to voluntary redundancies.
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the shocking move by the LNP Health Minister was an insult to those public servants he had helped sack earlier this week who – unlike those offered redundancies under the former Labor Government – had been stripped of not only their jobs, but their dignity.
Mr Pitt said it was another desperate attempt to throw a smoke screen around not only job cuts but a backbench rebellion on rural fire job cuts, ripping pyjamas away from the sick and Clive Palmer’s attack on the Premier.
“The truth of the matter is that the Labor Government asked a pool of non-frontline workers if they would like to be considered for redundancy under our government’s measured Voluntary Separation Program,” Mr Pitt said.
“The key words here are “asked”, “considered” and “measured”.
“Unlike this cruel LNP Government which ambushed and sacked 14,000 people by email or telephone call, we went to our public sector workers and informed them voluntary separation was available if they wanted to be considered.
“We asked the pool of non-frontline workers, if they would like to be considered as part of the 3,500 VSP program.
“We did not ask teachers or doctors or nurses or police officers or anyone else on the frontline.
“These offers were made only to workers whose separation from the public sector would not impact on services.
“Ultimately up to 9,000 workers indicated they would like to receive an offer and 3,500 workers were given a package.”
Mr Pitt 40,000 public servants were identified as non-front line but at no stage had these jobs been under threat.
He said it was subsequently announced in the Mid Year Review that a further 1,500 offers would be available, taking the total of voluntary separations to 5,000.
“All of this is on the public record – no-one was sacked.
“People were asked - you cannot make an offer if you do not ask.
“To say that our government set out to sack 41,000 people is desperate, ill-informed and is yet another testament to this government’s twisted logic.”
Dempsey Slashes Rural Firies In Half
Shadow Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne says Emergency Service Minister Jack Dempsey needs to explain how the Queensland Rural Fire Service will continue to protect Queenslanders after announcing half of its staff positions supporting volunteers on the frontline are being axed.
“Reports of 45 of the 79 uniformed staff and 56 of the 117 support staff being axed next year is very alarming and runs the risk of putting at risk property and lives, including those of volunteer fire fighters,” Mr Byrne said.
“We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of the up-coming fire season. Conditions point to a testing season, with fuel loads high after two wet seasons and a dry winter.
“Mr Dempsey needs to explain why he is so confident that the same dangerous conditions won’t exist next year or the year after and in future years.
“He needs to explain why reducing professional staff won’t put family homes, farms, business premises and lives at risk.
“Mr Dempsey and the LNP Government has failed to acknowledge the vital service rural firies perform and have again axed a frontline service.
“Those being sacked help train the volunteer force to fight fires across the state making this announcement a massive blow to morale, rippling right across Queensland.
“The Rural Fire Service is responsible for 93% of the state and comprises more than 34,000 volunteers.
“This is a slap in the face for rural firies who every year perform courageous acts all over Queensland with little recognition,” he said.
Mr Byrne said the Minister might consider reductions in training standards or the removal of educational officer’s part of his commitment to reduce red tape.
“Mr Dempsey might also view the implementation of recommendations, such as those that come from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, as just another piece of red tape.
“Many Queenslanders would be very alarmed that the LNP Government are scrapping recommendations from the Royal Commission into Black Saturday.”
Trickiest Budget In A Generation
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the 2012 State Budget proves the Newman Government’s scrapping of 14,000 jobs and savage cuts to frontline services are not paying down debt but are helping fund LNP election promises.
“This is the trickiest State Budget in a generation delivered by the meanest government in a generation,” Mr Pitt said.
“It is based entirely on the now widely discredited, made-to-measure projections of its highly politicised Costello Commission of Audit.
”I find it difficult to believe that Tim Nicholls said it was an ‘exciting time to be Treasurer’ on the day his own Budget slashes 14,000 jobs.
“The LNP thinks the people in those jobs are mere speed bumps and they are pleased to see them in the rear-view mirror as the government moves on to cut or outsource more jobs and frontline services.”
Mr Pitt said Tim Nicholls would go down in history as the Treasurer who delivered the largest deficit in Queensland’s history — $6.294 billion this financial year including $800 million in redundancy payments.
“This is just one way in which the Budget Papers reveal the mean and tricky nature of the Treasurer and the LNP government.
“Instead of using data from the independent Queensland Treasury, Mr Nicholls has relied on the flawed, made-to-measure projections of Peter Costello to again mislead Queenslanders.
“The Treasurer’s own Budget papers also confirm that Labor left office with debt at $62 billion despite the repeated claims by the LNP of a $65 billion debt.”
Mr Pitt said the State Budget outlined almost a carbon copy of the debt-reduction strategy planned by the former government.
“Why is it a ‘debt binge’ when Labor borrows to build infrastructure and creat jobs, but not when the LNP does it?” he said.
“This roughly parallels Labor’s strategy previously outlined by Queensland Treasury that was to see debt peak in 2014-15 at $85 billion.
“Then it would wind down once the level of spending on Labor’s once-in-a-generation infrastructure was also reduced to the more usual levels of less than $10 billion a year.
“The difference is that Labor was never planning to cut 14,000 jobs including frontline positions such as nurses across Queensland.
“The only conclusion is that the LNP’s mass sackings and cuts to frontline services have been to fund the LNP’s election commitments.”
Mr Pitt said the Treasurer’s statements suggested the LNP’s jobs purge was not yet over.
“Mr Nicholls refers to even more jobs going, which means more families without a pay-packet and more communities and local economies feeling the impacts of reduced spending and a drop in confidence.”
Cairns The Big Loser In LNP State Budget
The first LNP State Budget has today officially wiped Cairns off the funding map with the scrapping of major infrastructure projects and critical underfunding of others.
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Member for Cairns Gavin King had now officially lost more than $90 million for the people of Cairns with further implications across Far North Queensland
“Mr King has lost the $57.3 million Cairns Entertainment Precinct and $33 million worth of investment in the Cairns CBD upgrade, with the LNP only allocating $5 million for the CBD upgrade,” Mr Pitt said.
“The people of Cairns should be incredibly disappointed that Mr King has let the LNP Government rip infrastructure investment out of Far North Queensland.
“This will have wide-ranging impact on jobs and industry in the whole Far North region.
“Although the LNP Government has committed to $40 million for the Trinity Inlet dredging project, this is well short of the expected cost of between $80-100 million.
“The LNP is also claiming that 75 per cent of all infrastructure spending will be outside of Brisbane when in reality this is a truly SEQ-centric Budget.
“The truth is that 70 per cent of that funding will be spent within a four hour drive of Brisbane, leaving the Far North out of the equation.
“Additionally the water rebate will be enjoyed only by SEQ residents.
“Of course all of this is on top of the major slash and burn exercise by this LNP Government which has today seen 14,000 public sector workers shows the door, including more than 4100 for the critical Health area – a far cry from the 2750 workers announced just days ago.
“That has enormous, devastating ramifications for all Queensland regions, including the Far North.
“Sacking health and road workers across the state only means a bigger infrastructure spend in the southern regions.”
Mr Pitt said the State Budget had exposed the mean and tricky nature of the LNP Government through its recycling of Labor Government initiatives.
“In particular the $2.5 million for the Water Police catamaran for Cairns, $1.2 million Millaa Millaa fire station and $3.3 million for the Mareeba fire station announced as LNP projects were started and initially funded in last year’s budget by the previous Labor government,” he said.
“The $1.25 million for the SES headquarters was also a Labor Government election commitment.
“The $28.3 million to expand and redevelop the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre is a continuation of the previous Labor Government’s investment.
“The investment in Lotus Glen is also the height of hypocrisy by the LNP Government as they have already moth-balled 90 new cells which were completed by the previous Labor Government.”
Nothing For Rocky In Tricky Slash And Burn Budget
The first LNP Government State Budget has delivered nothing for Rockhampton but a rehash and continuation of Labor Government initiatives and projects, short-changing the people of Central Queensland.
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne said the State Budget had exposed the mean and tricky nature of the LNP Government through its recycling of Labor Government initiatives.
“We were lead to believe this would be a Budget that addressed cost of living issues but the Premier and his Treasurer are nowhere to be seen on this,” Mr Byrne said.
“This is a Budget that does nothing but deliver misery, does nothing but slash and axe jobs 14,000 jobs.
“The Treasurer can dress that number up any way he wants but the truth is thousands of those jobs are from the frontline – more than 4,000 in health alone.
“Let’s not forget today – in fact let’s not ever forget – that history will record this day as the day Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls showed 14,000 public sector workers the door and told them not to come back on Monday.”
Mr Byrne said the State Budget had also exposed the LNP as a cynical recycler of former Labor Government initiatives.
“There’s nothing in this Budget for our region – indeed for all of Queensland – except job losses and bad news for people trying to pay the rent, pay their mortgage and put their kids through school.
“And critically, they have failed to give Rockhampton a fair go.
“They have merely committed to building projects initiated by the Labor Government and dressing them up as their own announcements.
“In particular, funding for the Rocky Hospital redevelopment and the $4 million replacement fire station and the new $3 million ambulance station for Emerald dressed up today as LNP projects were started and initially funded in last year’s budget by the previous Labor government.”